Sapsucker Cecropias

1 06 2007

cecropia

It never fails to amaze me what you can find in your own backyard.

Two days ago I was leading a group of second-graders on a nature/bird walk in Sapsucker Woods when I saw the biggest moth I had ever seen north of the tropics: a Cecropia moth (Hyalophora cecropia), with a wingspan approaching six-inches. Even better, these two moths were illustrating a neat bit of ecology just by being in that spot at that time. The female was perched on the edge of her cocoon, and perched perpendicular to her, abdomen touching, was the male. Most likely this male had encountered or homed in on the emerging female and decided that it might be a good time for a roll in the hay (especially before she had the ability to fly away!). Males have been known to travel over 6 miles in search of a female, and usually mate with as many as three females during their short 7-10 day life cycle. Keep your eyes peeled for these spectacular spring messengers!

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2 responses

1 06 2007
John Riutta

Wow! What a great photo. Extremely cool indeed. I am just about to start my mothing season and this really gets me jazzed to get started.

8 08 2007
Helena

Wow, LOVELY are those cecropia moths. 🙂 They truly, truly are. Most people’s opinions are that butterflies are prettier than moths, but when I see Cecropia moths or Luna moths, I think that moths can be just as beautiful as butterflies.

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